Something’s Stinky About The Bus Cuts: THE VOTER

The Voter, a person her knows her city procedure very thoroughly, wonders why there’s so little public input into the proposed OC Transpo bus cuts.

So the major cuts to OC Transpo routes are just plunked on the table with no opportunity for public comment or discussion?

A report that is “For Information” doesn’t get debated or discussed at a committee or transit commission meeting unless one of the members lifts it onto the regular agenda.

The normal route is that it is circulated separately and not even included with the agenda. The chairman asks if information items are received and that’s all the exposure they get. Since it isn’t an agenda item, the public can’t speak to it. Of course, as the report says, “Customers will have extensive opportunities to provide their feedback on the updated system through OC Transpo’s communication channels.” That and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

Their vision is: “Proud to be your choice to get there” although, for many people, their service cuts might well mean you can’t get there from here. It also doesn’t account for those who make an involuntary choice since they have no option since they might be too young or not able to afford to drive or don’t have access to a vehicle. Not sure how “proud” I’d be if people were choosing me out of desperation!

One of the more interesting things I gleaned from the report:


“Under by-law no. 2023-67, the General Manager, Transit Services, is delegated the authority to make adjustments to bus and O-Train service in response to operational needs and requirements, including changes to individual O-Train schedules and bus routes schedules and bus stops, provided such changes are in compliance with applicable City by-laws and in accordance with the policies of Transit Commission and Council.” (p. 25).

Bulldog Readers Express Themselves … 30,000 Times

This is new this year and means that Transpo general manager Renee Amilcar can make any changes to train or bus service without having to present the changes publicly or answer to either the transit commission or OC Transpo’s riders. Obviously this is to prevent the kind of backlash there was a number of years ago to route cuts and other changes that forced ex-Transpo head John Manconi and the transit commission to back down and re-instate a lot of the cuts they’d proposed.

I’ve read the document several times and still can find no implementation date anywhere for any of the changes. There are references to various train lines being predicted to be in service at various points in time. I would hope that these changes are not planned to take place before those trains are not only up and running but have had several months of successful operation before people lose their bus routes that are now in service. Call me cynical but the one thing that we can rely on with the train service in this town is that it can’t be relied on. They need to have train service up and running with flawless service for a reasonable period of time before they start hacking away at the bus system.

Where are the accompanying maps that show the current and the proposed service so that riders can compare and see what effect the proposed changes would have on their travels? A few years ago, there were adjustments and major changes made to bus routes and OC staff went around the city with a presentation of the proposed changes and sought input in the various affected communities. There were some adjustments made as a result of that input.

Can we look forward to the same process or is this, as it seems, a done deal?

The Voter is a respected community activist and long-time Bulldog commenter who prefers to keep her identity private.

 

Digital illustration on front by AI generator Bing Image Creator.

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3 Responses

  1. Ron Benn says:

    Council has, for quite some time now, had the habit of delegating authority to staff. This is but one more instance.

    Why?

    In some cases it is for practical expediency. To over simplify an example, council should not spend its time deciding on which type of paper to use in the copiers/printers.

    In some cases it is because councillors lack the detailed understanding of how matters operational mesh together. Bus routes are a prime example. Some routes are feeder lines to collector lines to express lines to the LRT. Cut the wrong one in the middle and … well, as long as it doesn’t affect the residents of my ward.

    Which takes me to the most worrisome reason why council delegates authority. Individual councillors don’t want to be criticized. They don’t want to be held accountable for their decisions.

    What too few councillors understand is that while they can delegate authority, they cannot delegate responsibility. And that responsibility rests on their individual and collective shoulders.

  2. Ken Gray says:

    Ron:

    You left out an important reason for delegation … some of the councillors don’t want to do the hard work associated with being a councillor.

    Fortunately, some actually do the work.

    cheers

    kgray

  3. Been There says:

    Voter, all valid points especially the implementation times.
    With the snow fast approaching some parts of the new routes will have to be designated as bus routes and prioritized for plowing. As well some of the new routes will be using residential streets now designated as “no trucks” will these streets now become truck as well as bus routes? These changes have an impact on many other city departments. Have they been consulted?
    I realize it is still early, but what does the bus drivers union have to say about these cuts? Will there be lay offs amongst the recent new hires?
    This plan needs serious public consultation before it is implemented. The Mayor campaigned on improving transit will this be another of his failures?

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